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Man Dies After Police Leave Him On Hot Pavement For 6 Minutes After Loitering Complaint

Excessive force is certainly an issue. So is over-criminalization.

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Last month, a man was killed after officers with the Phoenix Police Department left him laying on the hot pavement for about 6 minutes during an arrest. On August 4th, police were called on 28-year-old Ramon Lopez because he was wearing ripped pants while loitering in a parking lot. 

A woman called 911 to report that Lopez was “acting strange” and “looking at cars” in the parking lot. 

“He’s kinda acting funny, he’s over there sticking his tongue out, I don’t know what’s wrong with him. And then he got ripped pants on, and he jumping around…looking at people’s cars,” The woman said.

“Alright, what is he doing exactly?” the dispatcher asked.

“He’s out there looking at people’s cars. Sticking his tongue out. Holding his, you know, his private parts,” she replied.

The dispatcher then asked for clarification.

“You say he’s exposing his private parts?” the dispatcher asked.

“No, he’s holding it, like he’s scratching on it or something,” the woman replied

Police arrived on the scene a few moments later, and Lopez took off running as soon as he saw them pull up. Police say that he ran into a nearby convenience store and stole a drink and then ran back outside.

They also say he continued to run when he left the store, and tried to throw the drink behind him while he was being chased. Police quickly caught up with him and tackled him, then handcuffed him and left him laying on the ground. In body camera footage, one of the officers can be heard saying that Lopez had a “broken arm” but there was no mention of getting him any medical care. Instead, they shackled his legs too and left him on the hot asphalt as he screamed in pain.

The temperature outside at the time of the incident was an estimated 100 degrees, and experts suggest that asphalt can reach temperatures 40 to 60 degrees higher than the outside temperature.

Despite his cries for help, the police ignored him and refused to help until he was dead.

“You’re fine,” one officer can be heard saying in the body camera footage.

Moments later, when backup arrived, a group of cops picked him up and placed him in the back of a police vehicle, at which point they say they realized he was unresponsive.

One of the officers shook Lopez’s body and said “Wake up buddy,” but got no response. Finally, they called for medical help but it was too late, Lopez was pronounced dead later that day at a nearby hospital.

According to Lopez’s partner, he was recently diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, which would shine some light on his erratic behavior.

Sergeant Mercedes Fortune said that an investigation is taking place to determine whether or not the police on the scene followed protocol.

“Conclusions about whether the actions of the officers are consistent with department policy and the law will not be made until all facts are known and an internal investigation is complete,” Fortune said in a statement.

Body camera footage below:

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